A lot of fans would tell you that Nick Senzel‘s inability to stay on the field has hurt his trade value. But I’m not so sure that’s the case. Would dealing the Cincinnati Reds‘ former first-round pick be enough to entice the Tampa Bay Rays to part with shortstop Willy Adames?
Senzel was the Reds top prospect in 2018 and ready for The Show upon entering spring training two years ago. However, injuries and management’s desire to gain an extra year of team control postponed Senzel’s ascension to the big leagues until May 3, 2019.
Since his major league debut, Senzel has shown patience at the plate and some pop in his bat along with a willingness to learn a new position (center field). However, one thing has plagued Senzel since he came up to the bigs; his ability to stay healthy.
Would the Reds part with Nick Senzel?
The Cincinnati Reds, in my opinion, were hedging their bets last offseason when the team acquired Mike Moustakas to play second base and Shogo Akiyama to play center field. Both positions could have been earmarked for Senzel entering last season, but instead the ownership spent a combined $85M to bring both players to the Queen City.
It turns out, they were right to do so. Senzel played in just 23 games last season and put up a .186/.247/.357 slash line in just 70 at-bats. The 25-year-old played in just 104 games the year prior after missing games here and there due to some odd injuries and was eventually put in the IL near the end of the season after requiring shoulder surgery.
Heading into spring training, I’m not sure that Senzel has a secure spot in the starting lineup. With no universal DH in 2021, David Bell is going to have to figure out a way to get Jesse Winker into the lineup, and that likely means either benching Akiyama or moving him to center field and sending Senzel to the pine.
Would the Rays and Reds make a deal involving Willy Adames and Nick Senzel?
I’m not sure that the Cincinnati Reds want to part with Nick Senzel, and I’ve been one of his biggest supporters since he made his big league debut in 2019. I believe he’s playing out of position, but he has game-changing talent and I believe Senzel can be the best player on the team.
That said, this team needs a starting shortstop, and Willy Adames can be that guy. With Wander Franco waiting in the wings, there’s little doubt that Tampa Bay would have no issue swinging a trade for Adames if the price was right. But would a one-for-one swap be enough? Eh, I don’t think so, but all is not lost.
Nick Senzel alone may not be enough to sway the Tampa Bay Rays to make a deal with the Cincinnati Reds, but if Nick Krall were to sweeten the pot with a pair of young pitchers, that may do the trick. Add to the proposal right-hander Tejay Antone and last year’s third-round draft Bryce Bonnin, and Cincinnati may be able to land their starting shortstop without losing too much.
Antone was an unknown heading into last season, but the 27-year-old performed admirably as both a starter and reliever. Cincinnati would miss his presence in this year’s bullpen, but a player like Ryan Hendrix seems poised to take that next step. The Reds would be selling high on Antone who only has 13 major league appearances.
Adding a young pitcher like Bonnin could seal the deal and put Cincinnati in position to add Willy Adames to their Opening Day lineup. Losing Senzel would take away some depth from the outfield, but the recent addition of Dee Strange-Gordon gives David Bell a valuable utility player that can play left and center field when needed.
Will the Cincinnati Reds go all-in and try to pull off a blockbuster trade with the Tampa Bay Rays, or will Nick Krall and the front office be content to trade for Amed Rosario or sign Jonathan Villar to a minor-league deal?